Mind staff who draw on their own challenging mental health experiences have a unique ability to gain the trust of people seeking support and to inspire them in their recovery.
Three Mind Mental Health Peer Practitioners recently talked about their work in a new video about Mind services in Queensland.
Abbie Guildford is a Mental Health Peer Practitioner at the Cairns Crisis Support Space and also at the Mind Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Cairns. She said her role combines both her training as a mental health professional and her experience as someone who has faced her own mental health challenges.
“My role as a peer practitioner is to provide support to people going through crisis or on a journey of recovery,” she said. “My knowledge base is my lived experience – I have a background of education in mental health but what I pull on to help people is what I’ve been through myself.”
The Crisis Support Space is offered to people over the age of 18 years in the Cairns and Hinterland region, who do not require medical treatment but who may have otherwise presented to the Emergency Department when they are experiencing psychological distress, or a mental health crisis.
The service is a partnership between Mind Australia and Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. It consists of two Mind Australia peer workers and a Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Senior Mental Health Clinician. Using their unique lens of lived experience, the skilled Mind peer workers and the Clinician can assist people in finding a path to wellbeing.
“We’re here to provide purpose and to provide that recovery that can help you be inspired and live a full life,” Abbie said.
Abbie’s colleague Pedro Melendez is the Senior Mental Health Peer Practitioner at the Crisis Support Space. He explained how peer work is walking alongside someone, supporting them towards recovery and independence.
“We commit to the journey of the client, to be helping all the way until they can find their own way,” Pedro said.
The Mind Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Cairns provides a broader range of individual and group psychosocial supports for people with mental health and wellbeing concerns. For Mental Health Peer Practitioners like Rebecca Hunt, this means the support she provides can change from day to day.
“Every person requires something different,” Rebecca said. “Some people need practical help going to the supermarket, dealing with Centrelink or banks, moving – stressful things like that – so I kind of meet people where they’re at; it depends what people want.”
Cairns Mind Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Service Manager Toni Hines said supporting someone on their recovery journey at the Centre can look very different for different people but is about seeing them in the full context of their lives and needs.
“It’s about providing supports to that whole person that includes a holistic wrap around response,” she said.
Learn more about the range of support services Mind provides in Queensland here.
If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
If you would like more information, please contact us.